Oscar History

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Entries in Art Direction (70)

Feb 01 2016

Art Directors Guild Winners: The Revenant crawls out in front?

David here to wish a happy 20th anniversary to theArt Directors Guild'sannual Excellence in Production Design Awards!The group handed out their 2015 awards last night,and their three film categories saw all three winners taken from this year's pool of Oscar nominees.The Revenant,in the Period category,beat out the remaining two Oscar match-ups,Bridge of SpiesandThe Danish Girl,whileThe Martiantriumphed in the Contemporary category andMad Max: Fury Roadtook the Fantasy gong.

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Oct 15 2015

More drama please,Crimson Peak

Here'sMurtadato review of the new wide releaseCrimson Peak.

Visually Guillermo Del Toro'sCrimson Peakis a big sumptuous meal.So visually full at all times that it masquerades a thin plot and uninteresting lead character and almosts gets away with fooling us into thinking it a great film.The compelling visuals keep it enticing throughout: Huge frilly sleeves on the dresses;red smoke flaring up from creeks on the floor;a creepy black skeleton hand moving ominously.It never stops.


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Jul 29 2015


Written and directed by Todd Haynes.Cinematography by Alex Nepomniaschy.
With Julianne Moore,Xander Berkeley,James LeGros,Beth Grant and Peter Friedman.

Hit Me With Your Best Shothas been running for six years and we've finally braved one of the most fascinating jewels of the 1990s cinema.Todd Haynes's disturbing,sad,confounding,and highly interpretable early masterwork[SAFE].It's the film that layed the groundwork for the cult of Julianne Moore (on the heels of her well regarded but little-seen performance inVanya on 42nd Street).Two years later mainstream stardom with frequent eyes on the art house,hit.In 1997,a seismic year,she had her first major role in a blockbuster (Lost World: Jurassic Park),her first instant classic with accompanying Oscar nod (Boogie Nights),and fell in love with her eventual second husband,then freshmen director Bart Freundlich (Myth of Fingerprints).And by then people were starting to discover [SAFE],too.The film's reputation is such now that people forget that not many people knew about it back then.It grossed just $500,000 in theaters and mystified many critics.

I've never forgotten this line froma Damian Cannon reviewback in the day

The acting is amazingly flat and inexpressive,the result of a performance by Moore which is either fantastic or abysmal."

More after the jumpincluding the Best Shot Choices

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May 26 2015

Beauty Break: "Cinema Without People"

My favorite tumblr of the moment is calledCinema Without Peoplewhich collects images from movies without the characters in them.Sometimes it's a perfect reminder of the skill of production designers,art directors,and set decorators such astheGoldfingerset.

(One of my favorite awards stats is the different ways that BAFTA and Oscar treat James Bond films and BAFTA rightly nominated this one for Art Direction.)

Other times it reminds you of great storytelling,auteur quirks,or the characters themselves through their very absence.It's nearly always haunting and beautiful.The very shy "about"portion of the tumblr simply declares that it was made with love for introvert film fans.I am not an introvert but I can still feel the love.

After the jump10 more images that caught my eye that I just loved...

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Apr 16 2015

Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 3): Don't Go Into Rebecca's Room

Previously on Revisiting Rebecca -Nathanielintroduced us to a mousy girl with no name and no money,whose awkward charms land her Maxim de Winter.Abstewguided us through their nuptials and the introduction of Manderley,Maxim's humble family castle.Turns out it's filled with Maxim's dead wife's things,including a creepy servant named Mrs.Danvers.Just how much sway does Rebecca still hold over Manderley?

Part 3 by Anne Marie

We begin where abstew left off,with #2 (aka Winter the Second,aka W2 - with about as much personality as a tax form) asking Crawley to describe Rebecca's character.Crawley answers back with a vague,glowing physical description that makes #2 twitch and me roll my eyes.Yes,yes.Rebecca was beautiful.Maybe the moral of this movie is not to judge a woman's moral character solely by her good looks.

55:55There's a quick montage of a fashion magazine and crossfade to #2 dressed uncomfortably in a black dress with pearls.Eagle eyed observers may remember that this is the same outfit she promised Maxim she'd never wear.[More]

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